For many years, Renée Stout has used her alter ego Fatima Mayfield, a fictitious herbalist/fortuneteller, as a vehicle to role-play and confront issues such as romantic relationships, social ills, or financial woes in a way that is open, creative and humorous. Renée Stout: Tales of the Conjure Woman brings together painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, glassblowing, installation, and compelling storytelling. Through an arresting body of works of art, which are intricate and detailed, Stout expresses the magical trait of the conjure woman: the ability to see the world through two sets of eyes — one on the physical realm, the other on the spiritual.
I Can Heal, 2013
Commissioned for the exhibition Renée Stout: Tales of the Conjure Woman
Executive Producer: Mark Sloan
Producer: Brady Welch
Directed by: Colin Sonner & Brady Welch
Cinematography by: Colin Sonner
Edited by: Meghan Sims
Original Score by: Bill Carson
Color Correction by: Evan Kultangwatana
Sound Design by: Roger Middenway
Special thanks to Jim Ross of the Washington Canoe Club & The Hill Family of Cabin Creek Heritage Farm
The film I Can Heal explores the world of Renée Stout by way of Fatima Mayfield, an urban conjure woman created by the artist as an alter-ego and vector. Whether as equal opposites or as corresponding echoes, the relationship between the two is porous and shifting. A number of motifs throughout the film speak to this, most notably the narration, which is conceived as an audio palimpsest of two voices merging and diverging, recalling each other, and “sliding” over the course of a number of incantations, chants, and parables. The passages themselves are taken from the exhibition’s accompanying glossary of conjure terminology, the Bible’s Parable of the Sower, and a lover’s recipe recounted by Zora Neale Hurston in her book Mules and Men.
Funding for this project has been generously provided by Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund. Additional support was provided by Accola Griefen Gallery in New York City, the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, Hemphill Fine Arts in Washington, D.C., and Zanatta Contemporary Art / Zanatta Editions in Shawnee, Kansas.